Wasting away: Sea urchins suffer deformities from plastic chemicals

Wasting away: Sea urchins suffer deformities from plastic chemicals

A lone figure kneels at the high-tide line of Tregantle Beach. A 2-kilometer (1.2-mile) sweep of golden sands that hugs the coast of Cornwall in southwest England, Tregantle is bound on one side by sloping cliffs and on the other by breaking waves, a few hardy surfers bobbing around in the foam like sleek black seals. The figure gently sweeps up sand with a dustpan and brush and tips it into a mesh office bin, from where much of the sand promptly runs out. The act of sweeping this idyllic beach with a dustpan and brush may seem like insanity until you look closer still. While the sand drains out of the mesh bin, something remains. Plastic. Colored scraps, large and small, lie mixed with the sand all the way along this beach, as they do on many beaches across the globe. Some of these plastic fragments broke off from trash washed out to sea; others are floating filters or “biobeads” used to treat sewage water; and yet more are “nurdles,” the tiny building blocks of industrial plastics, each about the size of a lentil and notoriously prone to spilling. Office bin method of beach cleaning. Image courtesy of Rob Arnold. The man patiently cleaning Tregantle Beach is Rob Arnold, a local artist who has been collecting plastics here for about seven years and turning them into sculptures. “I go to Tregantle probably once a month,” Arnold says. “Every time I will see plastic washed up.” But every now and…This article was originally published on Mongabay

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